The Phrygian Dominant Scale - Guitar Shapes and Formulas

What's the Phrygian Dominant Mode ?

The Phrygian dominant scale is the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale. It is also referred to as Phrygian major, altered Phrygian, dominant flat 2 flat 6, Spanish Gitan, Jewish or Spanish Gipsy scale.

The Phrygian dominant scale is nothing more and nothing less than a Mixolydian scale with a lowered 9th (b2) and lowered 13th (b13). It is spelled 1 - b2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - b6 - b7. It can also be seen as  the Phrygian mode (the third mode of the major scale) but with a major third instead of a minor third (b3).

Phrygian dominant mode  1 b2 (b9) 3 4(11) 5 b6 (b13) b7
Intervals H W+H H W H W W


Playing the Phrygian dominant mode over dominant 7 chords brings a b9b13 sound in your jazz lines. This is a great device to become accustomed with altered notes.

Comparison Between Phrygian Scales 

As you can see in the chart below, in comparison with the Phrygian dominant scale, the Phrygian mode has a minor third (b3) and the Phrygian dominant bebop scale has an extra note (7) between the minor seventh (b7) and the root.

Phrygian Dominant 1 b2 (b9) 3 4(11) 5 b6 (b13) b7 X
Phrygian  1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 X
Phrygian dominant bebop 1 b2 3 4 5 b6 b7 7
Comparison between phrygian scales

How to Play The Phrygian Dominant Scale on Guitar?

There are many ways to play scales on guitar. For a beginner, the most simple to practice and hear a scale is to play it using one-octave shapes as presented here.

Each position starts on a different string. Don't forget to play them in all keys by moving the shapes to the fret you want.

Phrygian dominant guitar scale

The next step is to play the Phrygian dominant scale by covering two octaves. This way you will play it on the six strings of the guitar without displacing the hand.

Phrygian dominant guitar positions

Now you can play the Phrygian dominant scale all over the guitar neck using three notes per string. This technique allows to start on each step of the scale : Shape 1 (tonic), step 2 (minor second), step 3 (major third), etc.

Phrygian dominant guitar shapes
  • Guitar Chord Dictionary

    This PDF eBook provides over 550 guitar chord shapes. This is the perfect reference guide to understand how chords are built and how to play them on guitar.
  • 172 Arpeggio Shapes For Guitar

    This printable PDF is a method designed for guitarists of all styles who want to learn the most important types of arpeggios using diagrams and theoretical charts.
  • 126 Triad Chord Shapes

    This handbook for guitar players is intended both for teachers and students. It includes 126 guitar shapes for mastering triads.
  • 30 Smooth Jazz Guitar Licks

    In this package you'll get a printable PDF Method with tabs, notation, analysis, scale shapes and audio files related to 30 smooth jazz guitar licks.
  • 40 II V I Jazz Guitar Licks

    This pdf method for guitar contains 40 II V I jazz guitar lines with tab, standard notation, analysis, scale charts and audio files.
  • 50 II-V-I voicings

    This guitar method is a printable PDF eBook containing 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab & standard notation.
  • 40 Minor 2 5 1 Chord Voicings

    This PDF method contains 40 exercices with tabs, scores and audio files for practicing jazz guitar chords over the minor 2 5 1 progression.
  • 40 Minor II V I Licks

    This guitar method is a printable PDF with tabs, diagrams, theory and audio files providing 40 minor II V I jazz licks.
  • II V I Bundle

    This package contains 3 PDF methods for jazz guitarists with tabs, audio files, analysis about the II V I progression.
  • 40 Mixolydian Jazz Guitar Lick

    PDF guitar method with tabs, audio files and theory providing 40 dominant jazz guitar lines for teachers and students.
  • 40 Minor Jazz Guitar Licks

    This printable guitar method in PDF format contains 40 easy minor jazz guitar lines based on the Dorian mode.
  • 40 Major Jazz Guitar Licks

    Printable PDF eBook method containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
  • Diatonic Licks Bundle

    This package contains 120 jazz guitar lines based on diatonic modes as Mixolydian, Dorian and Ionian. PDF format with tabs, audio files and analysis.
  • Guitar Walking Bass Lines

    This jazz guitar method about walking bass lines and chords is available as a PDF files containing 35 exercises with tabs, analysis and audio files
  • 101 Dominant Arpeggio Patterns

    This printable PDF method provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
  • 49 Essential Jazz Lines

    This printable eBook method in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians. Tab, standard notation, audio files & analysis.
  • 11 Jazz Blues Studies

    This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chord studies, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music.
  • 25 Altered Jazz Guitar Lines

    This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
  • 40 Blues Dominant patterns

    This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis, audio files and scale charts.
  • Mastering Pentatonic Scales

    This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
  • 25 Soul Jazz Guitar Licks

    You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson. These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
  • 25 Diminished Patterns

    This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
  • 6 Tritone substitution licks

    This Printable PDF eBook available for free download contains 6 easy jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video link and analysis about the tritone substitution.

Last edited: 2021-05-17

Add a comment